Shawn Chambers opened the scoring for the Lightning with assists from Brian Bradley and Darcy Tucker.
Just 27 seconds later, the Capitals responded with a goal from Peter Bondra who picked up a loose rebound and fired it home over Puppa at 14:44 from Dale Hunter and Sylvain Cote to even the score at 1-1.
Bondra struck again on his next shot just 15 seconds later at 14:59 using his speed to gather up a loose puck and rush in on Puppa, who was caught off balance. That allowed Bondra, who had a full head of steam, to swing around and shoot the puck in behind the goaltender just 1:15 after his first goal to give the Capitals their first lead of the night. Dimitri Khristich was credited with the lone assist.
Bondra then wasted little time, completing his hat trick just 1:51 later at 16:50 on the power play just 7 seconds after Roman Hamrlik went into the box for Tampa Bay for hauling down, who else, Bondra. Bondra scored from a sharp angle following a nice pass across the crease by Hunter that left Puppa diving in a futile attempt to cover the far side of the net. Khristich got the second assist on the goal which gave the Capitals a 3-1 lead. Bondra's natural hat trick was completed in an impressive 2 minutes and 6 seconds to set a Washington team record.
Bondra was not finished however, as he scored again just 2:06 later with each team a man down. After a nice give-and-go by Hunter and Derian Hatcher, Hunter sent Bondra in alone on Puppa in full flight. Bondra then deked Puppa and slammed on the brakes, which put Puppa flat on his back, allowing Bondra to easily fire the puck over him for his fourth goal of the period in the span of 4:12 to set an NHL record for the Fastest Four Goals in league history, which he accomplished on four consecutive shots.
The four goals by Bondra had given the Capitals a 4-1 lead and chased Puppa from the net, as Pat Jablonski was in goal for the Lightning to start the second.
While Jablonski held off the Capitals for most of the period, Steve Konowalchuk extended the Washington lead to 5-1 at 17:49 with assists from Randy Burridge and Mike Ridley.
Amazingly, Bondra scored yet again at the 19:30 mark of the second period as Khristich passed the puck up to Shawn Anderson on the left side of the net, who deftly made a touch pass to Bondra, who was moving in on the unguarded left side of the net for an easy tap-in for his fifth goal of the game, a feat that has only been accomplished six times in the 22 years since. He also became just the fourth European player and first Slovakian to score five times in the then 78 years of the NHL.
Tampa Bay fought back with two goals within 43 seconds of the third period, but it was too little too late, as Washington held on to win 6-3 thanks to Bondra's record setting night.
Injuries would limit Bondra to 69 games that season, during which he would score 24 goals and 43 points. He would lead the NHL in goals the following season with 34 in the 47 games of the 1994-95 season, which was shortened due to labor issues. Bondra continued his hot streak the following season when he scored 52 goals for the first time, a feat he repeated in 1997-98 when he led the league in goals for the second time.
He would eventually play 16 NHL seasons and score 503 goals and 389 assists for 892 points. He would play in five NHL All-Star Games and a World Cup of Hockey, two Olympics and two World Championships, winning bronze and gold medals for Slovakia.
Today's featured jersey is a 1993-94 Washington Capitals Peter Bondra jersey as worn during his record setting five goal game on this date in 1994 when he set the NHL record for the Fastest Four Goals in NHL history.
The Capitals wore their star-spangled jerseys from their inception in 1974-75 through the 1994-95 season. They brought back their original white jersey for the 2011 Winter Classic, the annual NHL outdoor game held on New Year's Day. They would wear the throwback white version as their third jersey for four seasons until changing to the red version as their alternate for the 2015-16 season.
Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2002 Slovakia National Team Peter Bondra jersey as worn during Slovakia's stunning World Championship, less than ten years after becoming an independent nation following the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993 and being forced to start at the lower depths of the IIHF ladder system in Pool C.
Today's video section is highlights of Bondra's five goal performance, which includes his record setting four first period goals.